"And I have found both freedom and safety in my madness, the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us. But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief. "

Khalil Gibran (How I Became a Madman)

YENİ ÇIKTI !

NEWS AND ARTICLES / HABERLER VE MAKALELER

Saturday, March 31, 2007

White House criticizes Pelosi for planned Syria visit

SOURCE: World Peace Herald

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has drawn fire from the Bush administration for her planned visit to Syria.

The California Democrat, who began a swing through the Mideast Friday, is scheduled to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad next weekend in Damascus, CNN reported.

Relations with Syria are strained, with the United States charging that Syria has fomented problems in the region.

"We do not encourage and, in fact, we discourage members of Congress to make such visits to Syria," White House deputy spokeswoman Dana Perino said. "This is a country that is a state sponsor of terror, one that is trying to disrupt the (Prime Minister Fouad) Siniora government in Lebanon and one that is allowing foreign fighters to flow through its borders to Iraq."

Pelosi is also scheduled to address Israel's parliament but other details of her itinerary were withheld for security reasons.

A spokesman for Pelosi issued a statement saying the speaker "intends to discuss a wide range of security issues affecting the United States and the Middle East with representatives of governments in the region, including Syria" as recommended by the Iraq Study Group.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Özel isimleri berbad etmekte üzerimize yoktur (Murat Bardakçı- Sabah)

U.S. demands Syria release political prisoners- Reuters

Syria to host next Arab summit, Assad says- Reuters

Arap Birliği'nden İsrail'e Barış Çağrısı- VOA

Pelosi Şam'a gidecek iddiası

Kaynak: BBC Turkish

Suriye kaynakları Amerika Birleşik Devletleri Temsilciler Meclisi Başkanı Nancy Pelosi'nin gelecek hafta Şam'ı ziyaret edeceğini bildiriyorlar.

Suriye Enformasyon Bakanı Muhsin Bilal, BBC Arapça Bölümü'ne yaptığı açıklama sırasında Pelosi'nin bir Kongre heyeti ile birlikte ülkeye gideceğini söyledi.

Bilal, heyetin Salı günü ülkeye gideceğini ve yetkililerle görüşeceğini kaydetti.

Washington'dan ise bu açıklamaya herhangi bir yanıt gelmedi.

Bu ziyaret gerçekleşirse, Demokrat Partili Nancy Pelosi son yıllarda Şam'a giden en üst düzey Amerikalı yetkili olacak.

Bush yönetimi Suriye'yi Lübnanlı ve Filistinli militan gruplarla bağlantıları konusunda eleştiriyor; Irak'taki isyancılara da destek vermekle suçluyor.

Demokrat Parti'nin sol kanadında görülen Nancy Pelosi, Kongre ara seçimlerini takiben Temsilciler Meclisi'nin ilk kadın başkanı olmuştu.

Pelosi göreve geldikten kısa süre sonra da Irak'ı ziyaret etmişti.

Irak siyaseti konusunda tavsiyelerde bulunan Irak Çalışma Grubu, Washington yönetimine Suriye ve İran yönetimleri ile görüşülmesini tavsiye etmişti.

Ancak Bush yönetimi bu yönde adım atmaya yanaşmadı.

Pelosi, Başkan George Bush'un Irak politikasını en çok eleştiren kişiler arasında yer alıyor.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Dissidents Kilo and Issa charged in Syrian court- Syria News

President al-Assad says Arab leaders approach a close vision

SOURCE: SANA

President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday underlined that the most important factor distinguished in this Arab Summit is the Arab countries and leaders' approach to a close vision that was not existed during the previous summits.

"Any step forwards will be good and meets our aspirations," President al-Assad told reporters following an Arab summit closed-door meeting.

On the situation in Lebanon and Syria's role in tackling it, the President said " this matter is realized when the Lebanese brothers agree," adding "Syria's role will be helpful, as the role of any Arab country, if there is a Lebanese consensus on one thing."

On the Arab peace initiative, President al-Assad stressed "this is no amendments on this initiative."

He described Syrian relations with Arab countries as excellent and friendly, adding "this is the natural position of Syria… Syria has not any other position."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Irrigation Minister Stresses Importance of Agreement among Syria -Iraq and Turkey

SOURCE: SANA

Minister of Irrigation Nader al-Buni yesterday underlined the importance of agreement among irrigation Ministers of Syria, Iraq and Turkey during their recent meeting in Turkey in making the waters and joint water resources a bridge for cooperation and amity among citizens of these three countries.

In a statement to SANA reporter, al-Buni indicated that the three Ministers agreed on reviving and activating work of the Syrian -Turkish and Iraqi committees to study joint developmental projects and equally share the water wealth.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Syria very keen on a successful Riyadh Summit -- Al-Mouallem

SOURCE: Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)

Syria's Foreign Minister, Walid Al-Mouallem, has emphasized the strong relations Syria has with the Arab Gulf States, especially Kuwait.

In an interview with the Kuwaiti daily Al-Anbaa published today, Al-Mouallem had said that the clouds that once overshadowed the "brotherly relations" with Saudi Arabia had vanished as well.

"I confirm that Syria's relations with the Arab Gulf countries in general, and Kuwait in particular, are as good as ever. They are solid and progressing, " Al-Mouallem added, pointing out the "brotherly" relation between Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

The Syrian Minister said issues that clouded relations between his country and Saudi Arabia had petered out expressing optimism that the two-day Arab Summit, due in Riyadh on Tuesday, would be a success. He ruled out the emergence of any Arab differences over the course of the summit.

On Tehran's nuclear file, Al-Mouallem said his country was "worried" about potential of a military confrontation between Iran and the US. He underlined the importance of sticking to diplomacy.

He also underscored that Syria was very keen on conciliation among Lebanese powers and parties and the formation of a unity government in the country, urging "the Arab and the International Community to back what the Lebanese agree to." According to Al-Mouallem, the policy of isolating countries is vain, pointing out what he considered to be the policy adopted by the US and the European Union (EU) on Syria.

He also said military confrontation was not the solution either, noting that his country calls for dialogue to reach "real political solutions."

Friday, March 23, 2007

Gas pipeline between Syria and Iraq

SOURCE: Iraq Development Program

Ali Abbas, director general of the Syrian Gas Company affiliated to the Syrian Ministry of Oil, said that there is coordination with Iraq for the establishment of a central gas pipeline, at a length of 500 kilometers in order to link gas networks in Syria and Iraq.

Abbas pointed out that "Iraq and Syria will cooperate to develop gas fields discovered in Iraq and the transfer of raw gas to be processed in the Syrian labs in Deir Al-Zour area on the border between the two countries in order to be transported across the Syrian network to Syrian consumers or exported towards Turkey and Europe".

Abbas pointed out to the Arab gas pipeline extending from the Egyptian Al-Areesh to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon for exporting Egyptian gas to Europe via Turkey.

Syrian election campaigns begin, with thousands announcing candidacy

SOURCE: Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)

Around 9,807 people have filed for candidacy in the 9th Syrian parliamentary elections, according to the interior ministry.

Of the 5,086 sector A (farmers) candidates, 639 were filed by women candidates. Of the 4,353 sector B (general population) candidates, 368 are women, the ministry said in a statement released on Friday.

The parliament seats 250 members; 127 seats are allocated for the laborers and farmers sector and 123 for the rest of the population. Of the 250 seats, 167 seats are allocated for the National Progressive Front, independents have 83 seats.

Aleppo ranked first in the number of filed applications with 1,391, followed by Hama with 919 applications, and Hums was third with 817 applications.

Damascus's streets are already seeing the start of the heated campaigns, with banners, especially those of independents, displayed all over the city.

The National Progressive Front's candidates have not started campaigning yet, as they are awaiting the approval of party leaders to the official list of candidates that could include non-party members.

Syrian elections will be held in the 15 constituencies on April 22.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hariri Suikastı Savcısından Son Açıklama

Kaynak: VOA

Lübnan eski başbakanlarından Refik Hariri’ye yönelik suikastı inceleyen Birleşmiş Milletler savcısı, Suriye’nin siyasi çıkarlarına gelen zararların, katilleri bu eyleme teşvik etmiş olabileceğini söyledi.

Serge Brammertz, dün Birleşmiş Milletler Güvenlik Konseyi’ne ve basına bilgi verdi.

Brammertz, bu zararlar arasında, Suriye’nin Lübnan’dan çekilmesini öngören Güvenlik Konseyi kararını da saydı. Savcıya göre, diğer unsur, Lübnan parlamentosunun Suriye yanlısı cumhurbaşkanı Emile Lahud’un görev süresini uzatmasının yarattığı uluslararası tepkiler oldu.

Savcı Brammertz Hariri’nin, Suriye’nin çıkarlarına zarar verdiği için öldürülüp öldürülmediği konusundaki kararı, uluslararası mahkemenin vereceğini belirtti.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

President al-Assad Interview with France TV

SOURCE: SANA

President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday said that Syria is a pivotal part of the region's issues; Palestine, the situation in Lebanon, Iraq, terrorism and any other issue.

"We are a basic part of the solution; it was not possible to isolate Syria. I think what has changed is not Syria's stance… our stances are firm... What has been changed is the others' understanding to the importance of Syria," President Assad told France TV 2 and 5 in an interview with French Journalist Thierry Thuillier.

"I believe that what is happening now of the return of the European envoys to Syria is the normal thing," the President said.

On Syria's ties with France, President Assad added that relations among different institutions were not affected by the political ties.

"Impacts were on the political level because we can't separate the relation of presidents from the Foreign Ministry, and the political field... but presidents of states are responsible for the foreign policy, so we can put it in the frame of relation between presidents.. Not between the two countries," President al-Assad said.

He added "Europe and France are almost absent in the political arena, and this is not good for us, we are not satisfied with this situation, but this is temporal and couldn't last forever."

On French President Jacques Chirac accusation of Syria regarding Hariri assassination, President al-Assad underlined " it is not possible for a person in the level of president to accuse anyone without evidences… whom he wants to accuse Syria, whether he is President Chirac or any other person, he should give evidence… relations among countries should be built on realities and interests not on personal emotions."

Regarding ways of returning ties between Syria and France to normal, President al-Assad said that it is necessary to put clear bases for these relations, first, respect of each country to the other, second it is not possible to build the relation with Syria through a third side. The relation with France is historic and relations should be direct through direct interests.

Concerning Syria's work paper on Lebanon in the Arab forthcoming Summit of Riyadh, the President stressed "I think the most important proposal for any political standoff in any country is to return to the constitution. There are two constitutional proposals in Lebanon, the early elections or the national unity government, and I think that either solution is true and normal as far as the constitution is there."

"Any solution in Lebanon that won't take into consideration the Lebanese consensus means instability in Lebanon, we should find the common factors which realize consensus, at that time, we can play a role, not pressure, I don't like the word pressures, I'd like dialogue… as we did with the Palestinians, we held dialogue without any pressures," President al-Assad noted.

Regarding the international tribunal, the President underlined that it is part of the Lebanese consensus and the national unity government, "there is no difference on the court as a principle... the difference is on the proposed draft and the law it will be based on."

"From the beginning, we backed international efforts regarding this subject... investigation committees and the tribunal… but, the court has no relation to Syria… the court is an agreement between the UN ,or Security Council, and the Lebanese government… it needs a modification in items by the Lebanese constitution. We support the tribunal if it helps reach positive outcomes concerning investigation and if it is professional and not politicized," President al-Assad went on.

On the President's response if the court referred to any Syrian relation to Hariri assassination, he said "this needs evidence... I previously said that any person who might be involved in this matter is considered a traitor on the national level and within the Syria law… he will be tried under the Syrian law and will be punished. But we will not abandon our sovereignty in this subject."

On UN report about weapon smuggling to Lebanon particularly to Hizbullah, President al-Assad said that "this accusation is rejected, saying that the European intelligence is existed in Lebanon with their Lebanese allies, so where are the evidences?"

The president added that " Hizbullah announced, before and after war, that it has big capabilities and it is not necessary for them have arms ….what happens is running away from the basic problem…they have to work towards the solution of peace in the Middle East before they talk about missile or thousands of missiles by any side or organization in our region".

Answering a question on deployment of any UN forces along the Syrian-Lebanese borders, the President indicated that "we announced that we reject any deployment of international forces because this means "war announcement" .We agreed on technical cooperation with sides in this regard, many of the European states proposed this issue which is monitoring the Syrian –Lebanese borders.

On the deployment of UN forces in South Lebanon, President al-Assad added" our stance is declared….before the war and before 1701 resolution we stressed the necessity to boost UNIFIL forces in South Lebanon and the truth is that US intended to decrease these forces, so we agreed on 1701 resolution, regardless of the non- objective and non-positive items in this resolution." For us boosting UNIFIL within the current UN forces authority is something right and positive." President Assad added.

Regarding Syria's participation in Baghdad Summit and Syria' role to stop civil war there, the President said " any solution must be Iraqi one and our role is to help the Iraqis, and what we are doing is to start dialogue with all parties whether they are supporting the political process or opposing it, aiming at finding the common grounds in this regard."

President al-Assad added that Syria' viewpoint is that after reaching these common bases, there must be an Iraqi national conference and not international one …..a national conference with international and regional support to help the Iraqis create a dialogue.

On accusing Syria of allowing terrorists to infiltrate through its borders into Iraq, President Bashar al-Assad replied "US Administration always blames its failure on others and doesn't admit its failure …..The problem in Iraq is political and their political failure in Iraq led to this chaos." In regard to Syria's role to control borders the President added that this thing must be done by the two sides and not by one side.

Regarding the repercussions of the US incorrect policy in Iraq and the region, President al- Assad said that any chaos in a country will affect the other, and may be the whole Middle East due to the similarity of social nature in our region, and its not in our interest that there is disorder along the borders because we will pay the price in a day in the same way .US and Britain are fully responsible of this confusion in the whole region."

On the Syrian –Iranian relations, President Assad said that Iran is an important country in the Middle East and Syria' relations with Iran or the rest of region's states are very important for security in the region, so we have to establish good relations with Iran as a part of work for security, adding that Iran has right to posses nuclear weapon for peaceful purposes in line with the international law and this is also a right for all countries in the world.

The President underlined that " we presented a draft law to UN Security Council in 2003 on freeing the Middle East from all weapons of mass destruction and we are asking for justice in this regard because Israel possesses nuclear weapons so this issue must be implemented on everybody not selectively towards a state without the other.

Answering a question on if there are secret negotiations between Syria and Israel, President al- Assad stressed " no …we fully reject the principle of secret negotiations …we don’t hide anything …..If we are talking publicly about peace so why we hide peace from the people...if people support peace process why we hide it." peace process needs a popular support …at the end when you want to sign the agreement so it should be in public and if there is no popular support for the details of the negotiations so there will not be a popular backing to the agreement, so, you will not reach any positive result or you cannot sign the agreement, so this principle is fully rejected.

On Syria's readiness to establish peace with Israel, President al-Assad said.. Sure "this is a firm principle to Syria and we do not change it …it is a matter of right …..We have a right in the whole land and all occupied territories must be restored and any other details are possible to be negotiated but not the land, because it is a Syrian land.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Mossad Başkanının süresi 2008’e kadar uzatıldı- YDH

France asked Israel to invade Syria, topple Assad

SOURCE: Al Jazeera

Ahead of the launch of Israel's war on Lebanon last summer, French President Jacques Chirac sent a message to Israel via a secret channel, expressing full support for a military assault against Lebanon, and suggesting that Israel invades Syria and topple its President Bashar Al Assad.

According to the Army Radio, the message delivered from the French President blamed Syria for the political turmoil in the region, citing its support to the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah.

Speaking during an interview with Army Radio, former Israeli ambassador to France Nissim Zvilli said that "former prime minister Ariel Sharon had explained to the French in the past that Iran is the main one responsible for Hezbollah’s armament in Lebanon, while Chirac saw Syria as the primary one responsible for the matter,"

"President Chirac saw Syria as directly responsible for the attempt to undermine the Lebanese regime," he said. "He saw them as directly responsible for the murder of [former Lebanese prime minister] Rafiq Al Hariri and directly responsible for arming Hezbollah. Likewise, he saw Syria as the one giving Hezbollah orders on how to operate."

Last summer, Israel launched a massive military offensive in Lebanon, using the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah as a pretext for the war that killed over 1400 Lebanese civilians.

Later on it was uncovered that the war was planned long before the capture of those soldiers.

In March 2006, and before Israel began its military operation against Hezbollah, the French President boasted that Paris wouldn’t accept any violations by Syria or any attempts to destabilize Lebanon, warning Damascus of strong international response if it took any step that would, according to his statements, destabilize its neighbouring country.

"Syria must understand that any act that encroaches upon the stability of Lebanon, be it through the shipment of weapons or assassinations, is an act that contradicts with its standing in the international community and will trigger a response from the international community," Chirac said at the time.

Chirac had sought to push Israel to declare Syria responsible for the violence on the Israeli-Lebanese border and accuse it of supporting Hezbollah.

"Chirac completely misunderstood the Israeli interest," Maariv quoted a senior Israeli official as saying. "Israel is not looking for ways to attack Syria. Indeed, immediately after Chirac understood we were looking to end the war…the messages stopped."

An Israeli official in Jerusalem who demanded anonymity, suggested that "the U.S. would not have complained too much if Israel decided to invade Syria during the first days of the war."

The significance of the recent revelations, doesn’t only lie in the fact they uncover the hypocrisy of the French President but also the fact that such proposal was discussed at high-level professional forums in Israel's Foreign Ministry, but didn’t find its way to the political echelon because, according to analysts, Israel wasn’t prepared yet for war against Syria, which raises fears that Israel might be planning for that now, specially that its failure in Lebanon war cost the Israeli leaders the support of the nation, something that could be regained if Israel invaded Syria and achieved positive results.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Syria says Brammertz to notify Ban on controversial issue of 10 nations

SOURCE: Kuwait News Agency

Syria said Friday UN top prosecutor Serge Brammertz, investigating murder of former Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri, would notify UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon with names of 10 countries failing to cooperate with the investigation commission.

There is a compromise among parties concerned that names of the 10 countries will be handed over to Ban in a separate letter to take note of them, Ambassador Bashar Al-Jaafari, Syria's envoy to UN, told the Syrian radio.

He said Brammertz commission had prepared a mechanism to facilitate resolution of outstanding issues with these 10 countries.

Jaafari said the report of Brammertz was positive regarding how Syria was cooperating with the investigation commission.

Brammertz said in his report to the UN Security Council (UNSC) yesterday that syria's cooperation with his panel remains "generally satisfactory".

Syria "continued to provide the Commission with assistance in response to its requests within the appropriate timescales, and the Commission is grateful for the logistical and security arrangements provided by Syrian authorities for its activities in Syria," Brammertz said.

Jaafari said the last three missions of the commission in Syria received great facilitations and coordination.

Jaafari said Brammertz's report did not mention the 10 countries.

But Brammertz said "almost all outstanding matters (with these states) were resolved to the Commission's satisfaction, with responses received, and where appropriate, mechanisms introduced to facilitate the resolution of pending issues."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

İranlı general İncirlik'te mi? (İbrahim Karagül- Yeni Şafak)

2nd round of Iran-Syria talks held in Tehran

SOURCE: IRNA

The second round of talks between high ranking Iranian and Syrian delegations headed by First Vice President Parviz Davoudi and the Syrian Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-Otri was held on Thursday morning.

At the meeting, Davoudi referred to the outcome of the ninth joint commission meeting as successful and hoped that implementation of the agreements reached in this session will contribute to further expansion of bilateral economic relations in various fields.

Turning to Iran's success in implementing various projects in other countries including Syria, the first vice president said that the two sides have inked agreements on water and electricity projects, urban development, technical and professional training, medicine, agriculture, joint investment and establishment of joint fund for supporting economic projects.

The official pointed to formation of the high joint cooperation commission as an effective measure towards strengthening and expansion of favorable relations between the two regional Muslim states, adding that further development of exchanges will also be beneficial to both nations and the Middle East countries.

He referred to Iran's attempts to bolster the tourism industry and urged that given the cultural and religious commonalties between the two sides, paying attention to tourism and providing the grounds for its development is necessary.

"This calls for closer cooperation between the Iranian and Syrian officials to facilitate pilgrimage and tourism as well as introduction of the tourist attractions of both countries," added Davoudi.

On his part, Al-Otri assessed the ninth joint commission meeting as positive and said that the agreements reached at the session are significant in the progress and development of Syria.

"Given the potentials of Iranian experts in implementing various projects, cooperation with Iranian companies is highly important to Syria," he added.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Solana: Şam'ın politikaları değişmeli- Zaman

Syria denies link to group accused of Lebanon bombs

SOURCE: The Washington Post

Syria denied on Wednesday Lebanese allegations that it had links to a group accused of bombing two buses near Beirut last month and said it was hunting the group down for ties to al Qaeda.

Lebanon's Interior Minister Hassan al-Sabaa said on Tuesday that four Syrians who confessed to the bombing that killed three people, belonged to the Fateh al-Islam group, which he described as "part of the Syrian intelligence-security apparatus."

A fifth man, also Syrian, was on the run, Sabaa had said. Fateh al-Islam broke away last year from Fateh al-Intifada, another Palestinian group.

"These allegations are completely false. They're part of the campaign of lies against Syria," Syrian Interior Minister Bassam Abdel Majeed told the official Syrian news agency.

"Fateh al-Islam is an organization of al Qaeda that plans to conduct terrorism operation in Syria. It was discovered in August 2002," Abdel Majeed said.

He said several members of the group were arrested over the last few years and an arrest warrant was issued in January for Shaker al-Absi, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, who used to be in contact with the late al Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Absi already served a three-year jail term in Syria for belonging to Fatah al-Islam, Abdel Majeed said.

Fateh al-Islam denied any link to the bus bombings in the Lebanese Christian village of Ain Alaq, which occurred a day before the second anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

A United Nations investigation implicated Lebanese and Syrian security officials in Hariri's February 14, 2005 killing. Damascus denies any involvement.

Hariri's killing triggered international pressure that forced Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon in 2005, ending a 29-year presence.

'Suriye daha çok gayret göstermeli'

Kaynak: BBC Turkish

Avrupa Birliği'nin dış politika yüksek temsilcisi Javier Solana, Orta Doğu turunun son durağı olan Suriye'de önde gelen hükümet yetkilileriyle bir araya geldi.

Javier Solana, Suriye Cumhurbaşkanı Beşar Esad, Başbakan Yardımcısı Faruk el-Şara ve Dışişleri Bakanı Velid el-Muallem'le görüştü.

Solana görüşmeleri sırasında Suriyeli yetkililerden, başta Lübnan olmak üzere Orta Doğu'da barış ve istikrara katkıda bulunmalarını istedi.

Javier Solana, Lübnan'a silah kaçırıldığı yönündeki iddiaların araştırılmasını ve silah kaçırılıyorsa bunun durdurulmasını istedi.

Solana'nın Suriye'ye bir diğer çağrısı da Birleşmiş Milletler Güvenlik Konseyi'nin Lübnan'da tüm grupların silahsızlandırılmasına yönelik kararının uygulanmasına yardımcı olunmasıydı.

Hizbullah örgütünü meşru bir direniş hareketi olarak gören Suriye ise, İsrail'in Lübnan topraklarında (burada Şebaa Çiftikleri'nden bahsediliyor) işgali sürdüğü müddetçe Hizbullah'ın silahlanma hakkı olduğunu savunuyor.

Javier Solana, Lübnan'ın eski başbakanı Refik Hariri'nin iki yıl önce bir suikast sonucu öldürülmesinden bu yana ilk kez Suriye'de temaslarda bulundu.

Suikast sonrası Avrupa Birliği Suriye'yle temaslarını askıya almıştı.

Şam yönetimi, Suriyeli yetkililerin suikastte parmağı olduğu iddialarını reddediyor.

Javier Solana Orta Doğu turu kapsamında Suriye'den önce Lübnan ve Suudi Arabistan'ı ziyaret etti.

Solana'nın Şam'daki temaslarını izleyen muhabirimiz Johnny Diamond, AB yetkilisinin Orta Doğu turunun ilk iki durağı olan Beyrut ve Riyad'da daha çok yetkililerin görüşlerini dinlediğini; Şam'a ise net bir şekilde "daha yapıcı bir tutum takının'' mesajıyla gittiğini söylüyor.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Iraq's Prime Minister Calls for International Support to Stop Violence

SOURCE: VOA

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has called for international support to help cut off networks aiding extremists in his war-torn country.

In a statement at a regional security conference in Baghdad Saturday, Mr. Maliki warned that mounting terrorism and sectarian violence inside Iraq could spread across the Middle East.

Also speaking at the landmark conference, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad urged all of Iraq's neighbors to do more to stop the violence in Iraq. He said no country represented at the negotiations will benefit from a disintegrated Iraq.

The one-day meeting included delegates from all five members of the U.N. Security Council, along with many Middle Eastern countries, including Iran and Syria.

Following the working sessions, Ambassador Khalilzad said discussions with Iran and others at the meeting were constructive, business-like and aimed at solving the problems inside Iraq. He said a future meeting of concerned countries is to be held in Istanbul, Turkey in the near future.

Two blasts occurred near the meeting site. Officials say at least 18 people were killed and scores of others wounded when two suicide bombers detonated their explosives in Baghdad's predominantly Shi'ite district of Sadr City.

In other developments, Iraqi officials have confirmed that a senior al-Qaida leader was arrested Friday, but they say he is not Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the head of an al Qaida-linked group called Islamic State of Iraq. Earlier news reports said Baghdadi had been captured in the Abu Ghraib area west of Baghdad.

Irak'ın komşuları Bağdat'ta toplandı

Kaynak: BBC Turkish

Irak'a komşu ülkeler BM Güvenlik Konseyi üyeleriyle Bağdat'ta bir araya geldi.

Bir günlük toplantı sonunda yapılan açıklamaya göre, dışişleri bakanları düzeyinde yapılacak olan yeni toplantının, gelecek ay İstanbul'da düzenlenmesi bekleniyor.

Irak Dışişleri Bakanı Hoşyar Zebari, Irak'ın güvenlik ve istikrarı üzerinde yoğunlaşıldığını, iyi sonuçların elde edildiği yapıcı ve başarılı bir toplantı yapıldığını ileri sürdü.

Zebari, elde edilen olumlu sonuçlara örnek olarak, ''güvenlik, mülteciler ve enerji gibi alanlarda komiteler kurma kararını'' gösterdi.

Zebari, toplantı sırasında ABD ve İran heyetleri arasında doğrudan görüşme, toplantı ve tartışma olduğunu belirtti.

ABD'nin Bağdat Büyükelçisi Zalmay Halilzad da İranlılarla görüşmelerin Irak konusuyla sınırlı tutulduğunu açıkladı.

Halilzad, yeni toplantının bakanlar düzeyinde ve gelecek ay İstanbul'da yapılmasının beklendiğini de açıkladı.

Halilzad, ''Türkler, bu toplantının İstanbul'da yapılması davetinde bulundu'' derken, ABD Dışişleri Bakanı Condoleezza Rice'ın bakanlar toplantısına katılma niyetini daha önce açıklamış olduğunu kaydetti.

Toptantıdan kısa kısa

Toplantıya katılan İran heyeti ise konferans salonuna girdikten sonra, Amerikan heyetiyle el sıkışmadan kendilerine ayrılan yere geçerek oturdu.

Irak'a Komşu Ülkeler Toplantısı'nın açılışında konuşan Irak Başbakanı Nuri El Maliki, diğer ülkelere, belirli bir kesimi destekleyerek Irak'ın içişlerine karışmamaları çağrısı yaptı.

Toplantıda ABD'nin Bağdat Büyükelçisi Zalmay Halilzad, komşularının Irak'a militan ve silah akışını durdurarak daha fazla yardımcı olabileceklerini söyledi.

Halilzad bütün komşuların, belirli bir kesime, koalisyon ya da Irak güvenlik güçlerine yönelik şiddetin kabul edilebilir olduğu düşüncesini reddetmesi uyarısında bulundu.

Bağdat'taki toplantı sırasında gazetecilerle konuşan İran Dışişleri Bakan Yardımcısı Abbas Arakçı ise, Irak'ta şiddet olaylarını körükledikleri yolundaki iddiayı reddetti.

Arakçı, "Uluslararası kuvvetler Irak'tan çekilme takvimi hazırlarsa bu, şiddet meselesinin halledilmesine yardımcı olur" dedi.

İranlı temsilci, Irak'ta huzur ve istikrarın yeniden tesis edilebilmesi için katkıda bulunmaya hazır olduklarını da belirtti.

Toplantı binasına saldırı

Irak'a komşu ülkeler konferansının yapıldığı binaların yakınında havan topu saldırısı düzenlendi.

Görgü tanıkları, Yeşil Bölge içinde, konferansın düzenlendiği Dışişleri Bakanlığı ve El Reşid otelinin arasındaki bir bölgeye iki havan topu atıldığını aktardı.

Sık sık havan topu saldırısı düzenlenen Yeşil Bölge'de, son patlamalarda ölen ya da yaralanan olduğu sanılmıyor.

Irak'a komşu ülkeler konferansının yapıldığı Dışişleri Bakanlığı yakınında 3 patlama meydana geldi.

Görgü tanıkları, konferans salonu yakınlarında patlamalar olduğunu aktardı.

Iran-Syria defence ministers start talks in Damascus

SOURCE: IRNA

The first round of talks between Iran and Syria defence ministers started here Saturday.

Iran's Defence Minister Brigadier General Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar and Syrian Defence Minister Lieutenant General Hassan Turkmani started their meeting in the venue of Defence Ministry in Damascus.

Considering the ways of expansion of ties, deepening military and defence cooperation and accelerating implementation of agreements are among issues to be discussed in the meeting.

Iranian defence minister arrived in Damascus on Friday evening at the head of a high ranking military delegation.

His 3-day visit to Syria is upon an official invitation extended by General Turkmani.

General Najjar is scheduled to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, too.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The time is ripe for the US to engage Syria on Mideast issues (Helena Cobban- The Christian Science Monitor)

US doubts Syria's elections will be free and fair

SOURCE: Reuters

The United States on Thursday voiced strong skepticism that Syria's parliamentary elections next month would be free and fair and urged President Bashar al-Assad to move his country "from authoritarian rule."

"Sadly history does not lead us to the conclusion that we can expect free and fair elections at the parliamentary level," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

He told reporters Assad had promised to enact political reforms when he succeeded his late father, Hafez al-Assad, in 2000, but "sadly we have not seen that."

Later, the State Department released a statement voicing deep concern that the Syrian regime would "again fail its people" in parliamentary elections scheduled for April 22.

"We hope every Syrian's voice can be heard without intimidation -- and we hope President Assad will listen," said the statement.

The Baath Party has ruled Syria since 1963 and dominates the 250-seat parliament, which is elected every four years but has little influence in making policy.

"To help move Syria from authoritarian rule, President Assad should enable full media coverage and invite independent election monitors to report the real views of the Syrian people," said the State Department.

Assad is expected to win easily a referendum to appoint him to a second seven-year term due to be held before mid-July.

Relations are tense between Syria and the United States, which withdrew its ambassador from Damascus in 2005 after the Feb. 14, 2005, killing in Beirut of former Lebanese premier Rafik al-Hariri.

A U.N. inquiry has implicated senior Syrian officials and their Lebanese allies in the murder but Syria has repeatedly denied a role in the assassination.

The United States has also accused Syria of meddling in Iraq and U.S. and Syrian officials are expected to join others in Baghdad this weekend to discuss how to end the violence in Iraq.

Separately, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Ellen Sauerbrey left Washington on Thursday for talks in Syria about the estimated 2 million Iraqis who have fled the country since the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Syria sets parliamentary elections to April 22 2007

SOURCE: Election Guide

President Bashar al-ASSAD decreed on March 7 that the next parliamentary election will be held on April 22, 2007. In the new parliament, 127 seats will be set aside for legally-defined categories of 'workers' and 'peasants' while 123 seats will be open to other social layers.

Suriye genel seçimleri 22 Nisan'da

Kaynak: MEHRNEWS

Resmi SANA ajansı, Devlet Başkanı Beşşar Esad'ın, her 4 yılda bir yapılan parlamento seçimleri için 22 Nisan gününü belirlediğini duyurdu.

Esad'ın, seçim tarihine ilişkin bir kararname yayımladığı kaydedildi. 18 milyon nüfuslu Suriye'deki 7 milyondan fazla seçmen, Halk Meclisinin 250 üyesini belirleyecek. Suriye'de 2003'te yapılan seçimde 5 muhalefet grubu, demokratik olmadığını iddia ederek seçimi boykot etmişti. Ulusal Demokratik İlerleme Cephesi 2003 seçiminden galip çıkmış, tek başına iktidar için gereken üçte iki çoğunluğu temsil eden 167 sandalyeyi ancak alabilmişti. Meclis üyeliğinin 83'ü de bağımsızlara gitmişti. Demokratik İlerleme Cephesi, Baas partisi ve 6 küçük müttefikinden oluşuyor.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Israel slams Russia for arming Syria

SOURCE: Jerusalem Post

Jerusalem aimed harsh criticism at Russia on Friday for its decision to supply Syria with advanced missiles, including anti-aircraft missiles and new anti-tank missiles that can penetrate Western-made tanks.

Senior Israeli officials expressed concerns that the arms would be transferred to Hizbullah, warning that missiles that were supplied to Syria in the past got into the hands of the group and were used against IDF tanks during the summer's war in Lebanon.

Vice Premier Shimon Peres said that the supply of arms to Syria "encouraged Damascus to turn to war."

"Syria is moving between peace overtures and its temptations to go to war to which arms supply is an incentive," added Peres.

The vice premier went on to say that the UN had admitted that the weapons flow from Syria to Hizbullah was continuing, adding that Israel needed to exert pressure on Moscow to stop supplying Damascus with arms.

MK Silvan Shalom (Likud) said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had "seemingly decided to restore Russia's Soviet-Empire status," adding that the Russian president was "playing with fire."

Shalom told Israel Radio that Damascus had already paid all its dues to Russia in the form of money Moscow had received from Iran.